Sessions

 

CatalystCon West

May 2018 – Los Angeles, CA

Sessions:

 

 

Click here to register!


12 Steps to Sexy Aging – Starting Now!
Joan Price
#cconage

Do you plan to get old? I hope you do, because the alternative to getting old is dying young, and who wants that? You’ve seen elders who radiate sexy zest, send sly signals, frequent sex shops and leave with a bounce in their step and a bag full of goodies. You’ve also met or heard stories about seniors who proclaim they’re done with sex, no longer interested, or who unintentionally let sex fall by the wayside until it’s too late to get it back.

What can you do now to make sure you keep sex alive as you age? What are the secrets to staying sexually vibrant through the decades ahead? In this presentation, you’ll learn what you can do starting now, whether you’re 25 or 55 or any age at all, to invest in your future sexuality. You’ll learn practical tips, communication skills, and attitude adjustments to enrich your sex life lifelong – partnered or solo – despite what the aging process throws your way.


90 Days – HIV: The cure is in the Conversation
Frenchie Davis and Nathan Hale Williams
#cconhiv

Let’s be honest, you can’t have a conversation—you don’t know how to have. So where do conversations about HIV begin today? How can we have a sex-positive dialogue about a subject that has only been described in the most negative light? In this film 90 Days our goal is to dispel prevailing myths about what it means to be HIV Positive, particularly when it comes to dating, sex, marriage and having children. This 20 minute short is a compelling piece that gives people of color, a vision for establishing and developing a pattern for intimate conversations around disclosure, STI/STD status and integrating healthy intimate sexual relationships beyond your status. We wanted to help break down the stigma associated with being positive. However we also wanted to be realistic in portraying the emotional complexity of dealing with the virus. In 90 Days and at the end of this 20-minute short lets answer questions that can change the landscape of this virus amongst the populations that have been impacted the most, but addressed the least. Conversations can save lives as much as medicine. Let’s discuss the cure.


A New Paradigm for Intimacy & Relationship
Arielle Brown
#cconintimacy

Many of us spend our lives pursuing someone else’s definition of what it means to be in a successful “relationship”. We’re given a checklist of actions to take and qualities to emanate by popular culture with the intention to entice the object of our affection into a commitment that will give us a sense of security in relationship. This usually takes the form of monogamy.

Monogamy has become the societal standard and socially acceptable model of relationship with another human being. And here’s the thing: There’s nothing wrong with monogamy. However, most people default into monogamy through conditioning, rather than through a consciously awareness of who they are as a sexual being and what they actually desire.

Our sexual and intimate relationships can be a playground for discovering who we truly are. Yet many of us spend most of our lives hiding who we are and what we want in relationship in order to avoid rocking the boat with our partner(s). It’s time to change that.

In this session, we’ll explore what is possible in intimacy and sexuality when we engage in relationship through conscious design, rather than unconscious default. You’ll learn how to craft safe and expansive containers to grow within our intimate relationships rooted in each partner’s individual desires, boundaries and areas on interest and exploration.

We will also high light key perspective shifts that can transform disconnective or challenging conversations into ones that generate deeper intimacy and turn-on in the relationship.


A New Way of Thinking about Sexual Disability
Carol Queen, PhD and Dr. Robert Morgan Lawrence
#ccondisability

Our cultures influence our erotic selves from birth. We are all enabled in (usually) a limited way to engage in erotic thought and behavior. When we encounter disability (in ourselves or partners), those rules may no longer apply–what comes next? The culture surrounding folk who are, or identify as, disabled can bring an entire set of skills that make sex both conscious and caring.


A Sex-Positive Reckoning or a Sex Panic? Let’s Discuss!
Carol Queen, PhD, Hernando Chaves, Zyra Lee Vanity
#cconpanic

We’ve been waiting all our lives–maybe all of human history–to see abusive, predatory people fall. Is this a new dawn of consensual sex? Some commentators see some elements of the Reckoning playing out in a sex-negative way (Masha Gessen’s Sex Panic article in the New Yorker comes to mind), and this panel seeks to look at these contradictions and grapple with the question of focusing the narrative to support both consent AND sex… yes, even watching somebody masturbate.


Activism for Introverts
Shadeen Francis, MFT and Yoseñio V. Lewis
#cconintroverts

Activists for Sexual Liberation come from all walks of life, from all ideologies, and temperaments. For those of us that identify as Introverts, the cost of the social labor inherent in justice work may make activism inaccessible or unsustainable. This proves especially problematic when tied with other intersections in our worlds. In-group shaming and misunderstanding often keep introverted activists from practicing effective self-care or seeking support in their communities. This workshop aims to acknowledge the meaningful role of Introverts, encourage their continued presence in activist circles, and grow their ability to nurture themselves so they can sustain their fight for justice. Through interactive discussion, small group exercises, and lecture the workshop will increase the skill sets of Introverts to improve their ability to continue to show up for others without sacrificing themselves in the process.


Beautism and Sexuality: How Society’s Representation of Beauty and Image Impact Sexual Self-Expression
Cathy Vartuli, Erin Tillman, jessica drake, and Robin Wilson-Benson.

Sexuality is core to self-identity. Its easy to think that desire is authentic to that identity. And yet the impact of how someone compares to social beauty standards, and how their potential partners measure up can have a profound effect on how confident and desirable the interaction appears.

For better or worse, how we interact with others, who we find attractive, and who we choose, or wish would choose us, for sexual interactions is largely influenced by what society says is beautiful. Those not seen as beautiful by those standards are all too often deemed non-sexual or second rate. And those who fit the standards are generally over-sexualized and have challenges being seen as a whole individual.

Becoming aware of the lenses we use to view ourselves and potential partners, and the ways that subjective value is applied is the first step to breaking free and discovering the preferences each individual has. Understanding the difference between social expectations and status, and what is actually attractive to the individual can allow freedom and authentic connection. Allowing individuals to explore what is desirable to them while discovering potential partners that might be dismissed otherwise.

We explore the challenges and strictures of beautism as it impacts sexual expression across racial, ableist, sizeist and age divides and share personal experiences and insights from different perspectives.


Becoming Your Best Advocate
Leigh Montavon
#cconadvocate

Many of us, especially women and femmes, have been socialized to put the wants and needs of others before our own. We are expected to be caretakers, nurturers, and people-pleasers in all aspects of our life: with our families, at work, on the street, and especially in sexual interactions. In a society where sexual harassment and consent violations are exceedingly prevalent, how do we override this conditioning to be our own best advocates? This workshop will provide discussion and exercises for speaking assertively, saying no without feeling guilty, and explicitly asking for what we want. We will work together to brainstorm ways of feeling empowered and finding our voice, as well as to understand why sometimes that is easier said than done.


Behind The Curtain: Running Multiple Day Events And Coming Out Sane, Part 2
Cathy Vartuli, Dee Dennis, and Lola
#cconday

Running a multiple day event for large groups can be challenging, especially when you encourage self-expression and independent thought. How can you leave your attendees, sponsors and speakers feeling appreciated and inspired?

Get a behind-the-curtain look at the intricacies and approaches that have worked… And learn about the ones that didn’t.

Ask the questions you’ve always wanted to, and discover the thought process behind some of the things you wondered about. Learn best practices and things to avoid when gathering support staff, and how to help them feel empowered and excited about the sometimes routine, sometimes frantic work involved in pulling an event off.

Learn what protocols, guidelines and suggestions bring calm and clarity and which ones create noise and conflict, and what you can do to upgrade and enhance peoples’ experiences while you create a safe container.

We’ll also discuss self-care before, during and after the event, and how to combat con-drop when the crowd goes home and you’re left trying to tie up loose ends.


De-Centering Arousal & Sex: The Platonic Touch Takeover
Fei Wyatt, Janet Trevino, and Jupiter’s Slut.
#ccontouch

Our relationship with sex in American society has shades of thrill and taboo. While many of us are working at reversing the sex conversation, others of us are seeing a resurgence and growing need for Platonic Touch. It has been marginalized and made less-accessible because of touch abuse, touch violence, touch deprivation, touch aversion, and touch trauma. At the same time, it is at the core of our human existence and wellness. How could something so invaluable to our survival also be one of the largest unmet needs in society?

We’ll explore the obstacles and solutions to beginning the process of Platonic Touch accessibility in our society, how sex workers are choosing to shift how they do their work to address intimacy and how the professional platonic touch & cuddling movement is leading the conversation and creating a culture where it’s okay to say YES to touch.


Don’t Talk About It, Be About It: Creating Inclusive Sex Positive Spaces
Kevin Patterson and Dirty Lola
#cconinclusive

How do we create more inclusive sex positive spaces and bring diversity to the ones that already exist? Lately this seems like a question that a lot of folks are asking, yet they aren’t ready or willing to listen to solutions and do the work to put them into action. How do we as individuals and as a community change this?

Join Dirty Lola and Kevin Patterson as they share and discuss an action plan that will help those of you trying to make change and those of you trying to be the change create better, more inclusive sex positive spaces.


Giving Good Con: How You Can Make A Bigger Difference And Get More Out, Whether You Present Or Not!
Cathy Vartuli, Erin Tillman, and Reid Mihalko
#ccongiving

Attending a conference, whether you’re in a seat or presenting, is an investment in time, energy and money. How can you get the most networking, learning, engagement and value? And what is your focus for attending the conference anyway?

Its all too easy to get swept up in the talks and meeting new people at a conference, and when someone asks you what you learned to have little specific to share, no matter how good the talks. Or maybe you spend weeks getting your presentation ready but feel your message might have been lost in the noise of everything going on.

Small changes can make a large difference in the impact you can make at a conference, how well you’re remembered, and how well you remember what you’ve learned.

We’ll go through best practices for anchoring knowledge, doing self-care (so you come out less exhausted and ready for the week ahead), and networking from both the perspective of an attendee and a presenter. We’ll lead exercises to help participants tune into their goals and values for attending a conference. And we’ll give action items and a check list so that each participant will know how to stack functions for making a difference for themselves, other participants and presenters, and the conference as a whole.

We’ll also show how doing these will make you a desired co-presenter and speaker, and how the collaborative effort can help the community grow and expand.


Healing Sex and Intimacy After Trauma for Sexuality Professionals
Alex S. Morgan
#ccontrauma

Your clients are coming to you to rebuild trust in their own bodies, minds, and hearts. It’s a big responsibility, and the rewards are tremendous: you have the opportunity to help someone get a core part of their life back and turn it from pain back to pleasure.

Sexuality coach and sacred intimate Alex S. Morgan will share tools they’ve used to help trauma survivors come home to themselves. We’ll cover how trauma impacts your client’s body, mind, and experience, including the “meta” piece: incorporating trauma-informed practices into the structure of sessions and client relationships. Since so much reclaiming work takes place in the body, we’ll examine best practices for bodyworkers and other body-based practitioners.

We’ll also discuss how you can teach your clients to use boundaries to increase, not decrease their autonomy and personal power, plus share solo (optionally partnered) somatic exercises we’ll practice during the session that you can share with your clients.

This session is geared toward professionals serving all genders and orientations and is supportive of kink, monogamy and non-monogamy, asexuality, demisexuality, and all forms of consensual intimacy between adults: romantic, aromantic, casual, and commercial. We’ll explicitly address how to validate asexual, demisexual, and/or aromantic clients in rebuilding their desired relationship to sexuality and intimacy after trauma, sexual healing for sex worker survivors, the layers chronic pain adds to sexual embodiment, and the ways that trauma intersects with transgender and non-binary experiences of body disconnection.


Healthy Boundaries, Healthy Business: How to Say No to Burn-Out and Say Yes to Your Perfect Clients
Alex S. Morgan
#cconclient

Your boundaries are as much a part of your brand as your logo, color scheme, tagline, or copy: Your boundaries define your business. This is for you if you love your work in sexuality so much you can’t imagine doing anything else, and this is for you if you remember that passion and want to end frustration, irritation, and a lack of focus or motivation.

In this session for hands-on and hands-off sexuality professionals, you will learn:

* How to stop bouncing between feeling like you’re always at work and feeling guilty for not working

* How much money being “nice” is costing you (and business models that keep the work accessible to marginalized communities)

* When saying no to our clients helps us serve them best—and how to say no without feeling like a bad professional

* How to walk the ethical line between offering services you enjoy and trying to get your own needs met at work

* Techniques for moving out of burn-out and into sustainability, plus steps you can take to prevent or reduce burn-out in the future

* What to do when you’re in a blurry boundary situation with a client, and how to make your client interactions easier and less stressful going forward

* How to stop working with clients that make your teeth clench and start working with clients you enjoy serving

* Ways to reinvent your brand or your practice (including what services you offer) without losing your current client base—yes, it can be done!


How the Sex-Positive Community Can Bring Healing and Growth to Our Country
Ethan Shattuck, Heather Brewer, M.A., and Mo Beasley.
#ccongrowth

Before politics, before culture, before formal language, sexual reproduction defined how organisms interacted with each other. The body is our shared language. It offers truth and clarity that can often be difficult to find elsewhere. And the realm of the body is, of course, very much in our bailiwick as sex-positive folk. The dissemination of our somatic wisdom can help create balance between individual and collective needs- something we badly need for our political health.

Healthy sexuality and healthy politics share much in common, particularly around interpersonal dynamics. Healthy sex comes through clear, positive intentions. It demands safety. It requires that we be embodied and listen to ourselves in order to communicate, connect, and set boundaries. It beckons authenticity and honesty. It keeps us in a constant practice of being open and safely vulnerable. And it pays off the most when we approach it all with humility and good humor.

This talk will provide a guide for bringing our work into the broader community by unpacking these parallels, synthezing various topics, and by providing attendees with ways of understanding and interacting with those we typically find difficult to reach. We have a great ability- perhaps a responsibility- to spread what we know by bringing it to others, and teaching them how to keep on spreading.


Humor In Sex Ed: The Value In Laughter In Releasing Shame and Trauma, and When and How to Use It
Carol Queen, PhD, Cathy Vartuli, Ken Cosby, and Reid Mihalko
#cconhumor

When dealing with sexuality, especially the taboo aspects of sexuality, trauma, fear and shame can shut the brain down and put the client into a flight, fight, freeze mode where learning and growth is hard and survival mechanisms kick in. Humor can be an effective tool to break the cycle and allow powerful growth and healing. Laughter can bring perspective and can introduce a sense of safety and ease to the learning process.

Using humor in appropriate doses and in ways that are responsive to the clients needs can be challenging without guidelines and understanding. Misuse of humor could potentially retrigger shame and fear and break down communication.

When and where is it appropriate to use humor when educating clients on sexual education and when helping them through trauma and fears. How do you know when to introduce humor when dealing with the deep shame around taboo subjects of self-expression or abuse? While many in the sex-positive education and healing world use humor, creating a conscious understanding of how and when to implement this tool can add confidence and strength to the technique.

We’ll share guidelines and best practices for working with clients with different needs and interests, from casual interest to deeply rooted trauma. We’ll discuss types of humor and when each might be appropriate, and share personal experiences and learning points. We’ll also show how to clean up missteps around humor with clarity and ease.


The Ins and Outs of Sex Writing: How to Move Past Fear and Flourish Creatively
August McLaughlin, Erica Garza and Erin Tillman
#cconwrite

Writing about sex can be deeply fulfilling and impactful, but not everything about sex writing is sexy. From dealing with trolls and discussing culturally taboo subjects to maintaining privacy while staying true to your own stories, this panel will explore common concerns that keep people from putting words on the page and proven strategies to make the most of those you do.


Kinky & Queer: Exploring the Experiences of Intersectional LGBTQ+ BDSM Practitioners
Dean Khambatta and Megan Special, PhD, LMHC
#cconbdsm

Historically, much of the research regarding the practice of kink/BDSM has focused on the experiences of white, cisgender/heterosexual (cis/het) practitioners from a mostly middle to upper-middle social class background—with considerably less or no data regarding the experiences of non-dominant group members such as LGBTQ+ people, people of color, and individuals with disabilities. While there is evidence to suggest that the practice of BDSM is related to increased levels of emotional and relational functioning (Sandnabba, Santtila, Alison, & Nordling, 2002; Wismeijer & van Assen, 2013), little is known regarding the specific function of kink/BDSM in the sexual health and wellbeing of LGBTQ+ practitioners. Additional research is also needed to better understand the potentially healing practice of BDSM in the lives of historically marginalized kinksters (Barker, Gupta, and Iantaffi, 2013; Lindemann, 2011; Pillai-Friedman, Pollitt, & Castaldo, 2015). In this presentation, we explore the findings from a phenomenological qualitative study examining how the practice of kink/BDSM shapes sexual and relational experiences and how heterosexism, racism, ableism, and beauty/ageism impacts queer kinksters’ experiences of safety, inclusivity, and authenticity in kink-identified spaces. Additionally, we discuss how sexuality professionals can incorporate these findings into current education and therapeutic practice.


Make It Hurt So Good: Kink as a Space for Healing from Epigenetic, Personal, and Historical Trauma
Alex Wilson
#cconhurt

In recent years discussions of trauma have come to permeate mainstream social consciousness more and more, unfortunately the narrative we focus on is often extremely limited and focused solely on healing in finite and specific ways. At the same time conversations about BDSM, save for a few unfortunately lacking examples have remained shrouded by mystery and taboo. Is there any link between these two seemingly different things? What if we could use pain we can control to heal the pain we cannot? Is there more than one way to heal a wound? Is it possible to use BDSM saw a platform for healing? Is it possible to use pain to heal from pain? These are the central questions of this presentation which discusses the nature of trauma stemming from multiple sources related to violence, culture, and lived experience. Trauma creates a disconnect from the body, it keeps us bound to a pain we have not chosen. By creating intentional spaces where violence, control, and pain are often an objective we can work through past trauma and overcome and heal. Renegotiating pain on personal terms can be a step towards progress. This conversation centers those who have experienced trauma related to sexual violence, cultural violence, and systemic/ state violence and explores new avenues for healing, understanding and growth. Participants will engage in discussion about their own experiences, goals, and desires and walk away with a deeper understanding of trauma held in the body, healing strategies, and strategies for building a scene.


Mindful Kink
Melody Anne
#cconmindful

This workshop will explore the fascinating similarities and connections between mindfulness and BDSM (bondage & discipline, dominance & submission, and sadism & masochism). The practice of bringing intentional awareness and nonjudgmental acceptance to the present moment can facilitate deeper, more rewarding sexual experiences for kinksters and “vanillas” alike! Join sex educator, researcher, and kinkster Melody Anne to learn about the basics of both mindfulness and BDSM, geek out on exciting new research about mindfulness, sex, pain, and kink, discover how bringing mindful attention to the bedroom (or the dungeon!) can enrich one’s experiences of pleasure and/or pain, and participate in some mindfulness exercises. Attendees will also have the chance to sign up to participate in Melody Anne and her colleagues’ ongoing research study on the topic – “for science!”


The Negative of Sex Positive: Shame, stigma and sex work acceptance in our community
Alisa Sophia, Ms Emilie Oxford, Hercules Liotard, and Melissa Joy Maven.
#cconshame

The sex positive community is about acceptance of sexual orientations, gender identities, relationships, freedom to love and marry, express and celebrate one’s sexual self and protecting the rights of discriminated people. But the group we tend to leave out of the equation are people who make a living from erotic labor: sex workers. Sex workers face discrimination and shaming like many other marginalized groups, but because of the stigma, especially against women and trans women of color, criminalization and the human trafficking witch hunt, sex workers are often considered part of the ‘sex negative’ world. Recently someone suggested that a celebrity accused of sexual harassment should “take out his anger and perversions on a sex worker” as if sex workers can’t be assaulted or have agency. Where can we start to include sex workers, deserving of rights and protections like any other people? Within our own sex work community, we often see our own internalized shame in the “whorearchy”, a stratosphere of who is better, “cleaner” (STI myths) and more worthy of respect than others. What can we do to be more inclusive within the sex positive world and our our sex worker community?


Porn Tasting 101: Consumption for the Curious
Kristel Penn and Traci Medeiros-Bagan, LMFT
#cconporn

Watching porn is often a solo activity reserved for a dark room with the door closed. We immediately clear our browser histories afterward, but why?  

Together Marriage and Family Therapist Traci Medeiros-Bagan and adult industry veteran Kristel Penn offer a unique framework for viewing and enjoying porn.  Like developing a nose for fine wine, they believe that a little practice and knowledge can help create a decadent menu of shame-free desire designed specifically for you!

To begin, we’ll cleanse our palates of shame, stigma, and misinformed beliefs around the adult industry.  We’ll whet our appetites for knowledge with an excerpt from Lilith Luxe’s award-winning documentary series, Real Fucking Doc, featuring the cast of “Real Fucking Girls” and its director Mona Wales. Luxe’s piece highlights the voices of the performers and producers and discusses their dedication to the creation of high-quality ethical porn, porn’s place in culture, and its ability to inform it. At the end of this beginner’s tasting course, you’ll learn a bit about the adult industry, what varieties of porn might be a good fit for you and why, and how to feel good as a conscious consumer.

So, cum one, cum all! This is for educators, providers, and anyone who wants to learn ways to create an open and shame-free dialogue (with others or yourself) around porn.  


Queer & Trans Relationships: Building a Sex-Positive Foundation
Leigh Montavon and Sam Sawyer Silverman
#cconqueer

Too often conversations about trans people focus on struggles and challenges. By highlighting the joys, intricacies, and strengths that are present in trans romantic and sexual relationships, we hope to extend conversations about sex positivity to trans folks. As two queer individuals (one cisgender and one trans), both with trans partners, we hope to highlight the meaningful nature of our relationships from our unique personal and professional perspectives. We will address healthy communication skills like using trans-affirming language and checking assumptions. We will focus on the tools needed to strengthen relationships and make space for joyful sex lives. We will explain what doing the work of being a supportive sexual/romantic partner looks like, including self-education, advocacy, and community engagement. We will share our personal experiences navigating our relationship dynamics, from co-parenting and transition to chronic illness and dysphoria. Finally, we will provide insight into positive and affirming experiences that have sustained our relationships.


Revolutionary Changes in Laws Surrounding the Porn and Sex Toy Industries
Maxine Lynn
#ccontoy

Evolving cultural norms relating to sex, sex toys, and porn are leading to revolutionary changes in the surrounding laws.

Around the world, sexual-based trademarks have typically been banned from trademark registration. It appears that the United States will pioneer the way in correcting this. A case is currently before a U.S. high court, which is likely to strike down the prohibition of “scandalous and immoral” trademarks. This will open a long-closed door to companies in the adult industry to obtain the same legal protections for their brands as others in mainstream businesses.

The Child Protection and Obscenity Enforcement Act, a/k/a “Section 2257,” has enabled government harassment of pornographers for years, implementing onerous record keeping requirements, unfair inspection provisions, and other unreasonable burdens. The Free Speech Coalition, an adult industry trade organization, has been fighting this U.S. law for years. Their hard work is paying off, as it looks like a reversal of the law in current litigation is imminent.

The Digital Economy Act in the United Kingdom is now law-of-the-land there, requiring adult-oriented website operators to verify that visitors are at least 18 years of age. This is extremely important to watch, as the UK law could potentially become a model for other countries desiring such age verification in the future.

During this workshop, we’ll discuss these and other historic developments, as well as how to prepare and what to look forward to.


Sex and Social Media: The Politics of Free Speech
Lynn Comella, PhD, Nina Flores, PhD and Shira Tarrant, PhD
#cconpolitics

Free speech is central to democracy and self-expression. Yet in the current political climate, the risk of online retribution is chilling. These attacks, particularly in response to sex-related speech, come from online and on the ground: tweets, social media, and campus conversations are equally at risk. The impact and intensity of this retribution is profoundly gendered, raced, and sexed. While there is an important role for public accountability, this panel suggests that we’ve moved from a call-out culture to a take-down era. Panelists will explore the roots and reasons for this evolving political moment and will discuss the crucial need for awareness, knowledge, and action. Specific attention will be given to recent online controversies regarding sexuality and sexual harassment.


Sex Positive & Social Justice Optimism For Parents, Educators & Advocates
Jack Rednour-Bruckman, Mo Beasley and Shar Rednour
#cconparent

Want to be sex positive and body positive,  free of shame and stigma yet full of healthy boundaries and good communication? Unleashing the combined personal and professional experience from these three translates into endless practical applications, ideas and advice for parents, educators, professionals, activists, and advocates. Sex education is pathetically lacking and extremely inconsistent in the USA, yet we all, kids included, are inundated with over-sexualized (usually sexist) images and language.  How does race influence our “big talks” about dating, sex, consent, and safety (personal safety and safety from racism’s influence on freedom and liberty)? How do we support the future of the human race so they can learn what they like, sexual empowerment and freedom, celebrate individuality? Can we keep a discerning, feminist eye open with social justice awareness and keep the joy of sex and body-positivity alive with good choices?

This workshop/panel will help you answer these questions and give you ideas to take back to your professional and personal life whether you have kids or not.

With each news notification popping up on your phone, a new threat to our way of life and our country’s core values presents itself. This includes threats to the sexual freedoms we cherish as well as other basic fundamental human rights. In today’s intersectional social climate, the need to act and resist is imperative to the survival and growth of our progressive values. What are we bringing to our families? If we are freaking out, are our kids? What about self-care? Hard enough to do before Trump, what is your approach to self-care now? While it can seem overwhelming, there are countless ways we can be role models, as well as bring our children into the social and political conversation: we can speak out, protest and create change, whether that’s happening in the hallways of Congress, in pop culture, in our local neighborhoods, and especially at the dinner table.


Sex Positive Spirituality
Rev. Lacette Cross
#cconspiritual

We are sexual beings having a spiritual experience and spiritual beings having a sexual experience. Negative religious messages seek to separate these key aspects of our humanity. In order to love God and sex too we must embrace a sex-positive spirituality. This type of spiritualty draws from sources that foster our connection to pleasure – physically and spiritually. Most often we are given messages that pleasure is bad and “sinful” versus opportunities to explore the diverse ways we can feel good about our bodies and spirits.

This interactive presentation will create space for participants to examine pleasure-negative messages from religion and society, identify sources that foster a fuller sense of pleasure and discuss ways to cultivate a sex-positive spirituality. This presentation will help participants deconstruct sex-negative messages and reconstruct a sex-positive spirituality. Participants will leave with tools and resources to continue the work of weaving together the key aspects of our humanity -sexuality and spirituality.


Sex Work and The Law: ESPLERP v Gascon – What Comes Next
Allan B. Gelbard, Esq.
#cconlaw

Why is it unlawful to charge for something that you can give away for free. Why is it any of the government’s business what consenting adults do with their bodies behind closed doors. First Amendment attorney Allan Gelbard will discuss the legal issues surrounding sexwork, adult entertainment and alternative lifestyles.


Sexclamation Point!: Unpacking What “Good Sex” Means and How we can have more of it!
Alex Wilson
#cconpoint

As a sex educator ll find that I often return to one central question: what is sex? When we remove the frame of heteronormativity that centers penetration as a defining aspect what remains? This is no easy feat. Furthermore how do we differentiate good sex from bad? Most can recall sexual experiences and identify positives and negatives, but are we all drawing these definitions along the same lines? What does it mean to be good at sex and why does it matter? What makes a good sexual partner- is it how giving you are or how well you receive? How does this intersect with identity which shapes how we are exposed to sex and the messages we receive about our roles as sexual beings. Women/ femmes are taught they are to be passive recipients while men/boys/masc folks receive the message they ought to be aggressive. What are the implications of this for, nonbinary folks? Does this change across cultures? In order for us to lead fulfilling, healthy, sexual lives it becomes important understand sexuality more fully. Let us define good sex for ourselves! Let’s move away from toxic ideas of what it means to be an ideal sexual partner, let’s unlearn dangerous misogynistic values. This presentation seeks to remove toxicity from our sexual narrative and embrace nuanced understanding of sex. Participants will come away from this immersive workshop with a deeper understanding of self able to articulate what is good sex for themselves to be happier and healthier.


Sexless Love and Loveless Sex: Data, Myths and Magic
Zach Beach
#cconmagic

Is sex with no strings attached possible in the long run? Does better love make for better sex, or does better sex make better love? Is a sexless marraige necessarily a problem to be fixed? Is lesbian bed death even a thing?

From many different sides, we are told how relationships are supposed to be, how sex is supposed to happen, and when the two should overlap. However, many conventional ideas around love, sex and relationships are actually myths most often rooted in gender stereotypes and puritanical ideals.

In this enlightening lecture, love expert and activist Zach Beach will dispel these common myths using actual data, and talk of the alchemical magic that can happen when two people, married or not, in love or not, can still have an incredible sex life.

This class will also uncover the links between sex and love, how to avoid common pitfalls between the two, and uncover the best practices for a happy love and sex life.


Shit Ain’t Changed!: Evolution vs Revolution in Sexuality/Freedom Movements of Yesterday and Tomorrow
Mo Beasley and Shannon Lower
#cconfreedom

In the recent onslaught of high profile sexual harassment allegations in the worlds of media, entertainment, government, and business it is easy imagine we are on the cusp of a revolution in women’s rights and protection against systemic sexism. And, that may be true. But didn’t we believe that in the seventies when the Feminist Movement rocketed into the public discourse? Didn’t we believe that when women won the right to vote in…? Lasting achievements were gained that would allow society to believe that we have overcome and we are a more evolved society. The revolutions were televised and we all tuned in, and tuned out. We tuned out to the revolving door that “change” is often spun through which drops society off not from where the movement started.

How do we/can we exact lasting evolution in the development of civilization through our work as activist and change agents? How do stop current and future generations from repeating the same mistakes under the guise of advancement because our technology has been upgraded. “Revolution 2.0 makes pocket change. Evolutionary agendas and choices can make change beyond dollars, and with ancestral sense that utilizes the wisdom of the ages to stop the reinvention of wheels and such every 50 years or so. Or so these panelists believe.


Shyness and Sexual Self-expression: How Shame and Trauma Impact Sexual Pleasure and Connection
Cathy Vartuli and Jimanekia Eborn.
#cconstrong

It can be hard enough to encourage and foster authentic and healthy sexual self-expression and connection in extroverts. Introducing shyness, shame and trauma, especially for those with more socially taboo desires, and the road to sexual pleasure can become very rocky. Some people find it hard to talk to others on a social level and any discussion of sex may seem too painful.

Deeply rooted patterns of avoiding the discussions or experiences around sexuality may have left them feeling hopeless and shut down. Some may feel like they can never succeed and unwilling to attempt connection.

Trying to get these people to be extroverted can result in a sense of being false, which can hinder relationship building. Finding ways to allow their natural expression and encourage the practice of sharing, starting with smaller issues, can break the shame cycle and help them feel more empowered.

We’ll discuss best practices to empower the shy and introverted (and how shy and introverted people share some of the same challenges from different perspectives) and reduce shame for clients who are longing for powerful connections. We include exercises that help them lean into the discomfort of speaking up and let them gain confidence.

Learning Objectives
At the conclusion of this session, participants will be able to distinguish the issues their clients may be struggling with around shyness and sexuality, and using the guidelines provided, formulate effective plans to break the shame cycle and have their clients step out of the silence of shyness into an authentic self-expression.


The Slash Sexual Underground
Charlotte Hill, Constance Penley, Megan Kent, and Shar Rednour.
#cconslash

For almost fifty years an underground community of women writers, artists, and vidders have transgressively refashioned tv shows, movies, and books to suit their own sexual and social desires. Slash fandom, known for creating homoerotic pornographic stories that pair (usually) male characters from Kirk/Spock to Iron Man/Captain America, is one of few intergenerational spaces where women talk about sex and their non-mainstream sexual interests. They created a safe space for sharing graphic fiction and art before “safe space” developed social meaning. Depending on the convention or the community, no topic is off limits: kink, chan, noncon, mpreg, rape, torture, permanent injury and disability of a partner, and even growing old together. Slash fandom represents an early instance of feminist porn, a prescient queering of popular culture, a radical democratizing of media technologies, and, in devising strategies for creative collaboration and constructive critique (no shaming or flaming), best practices for an emerging social media.

Join fans and scholars in a conversation about sexual ethics and sexual communities, popular feminism, “pornography in the wild,” and how the slash ethos has so come to pervade mainstream culture that we are now all fans, geeks, and queer.


Successful Self-Publishing for Sex Geeks and Sexual Justice Revolutionaries
Allison Moon, Carol Queen, PhD and Shar Rednour
#cconpublish

It’s easier to get your word out than ever before. But what do you need to know to do it successfully? We’ll talk budget, editing, finding pros to help do the parts that aren’t your thing, pricing and promo’ing your book, and so much more.


Super Sluts: Personal Narratives of Reclamation
Jack HammerXL, Jupiter’s Slut, Lola, and Reid Mihalko.
#cconsluts

Hear the heroic tales of super sluts battling the forces of sexual shame as they answer the questions that plague them. Why identify as a slut? Are you a “real” slut? What are the pros and cons of self-identifying with a slur? What’s a super slut? How many sexual partners does it take to become a super slut? With humor and humility, we explore publicly embracing sluthood.


Toxic (Capitalist) Relationships
Dr. Chris Donaghue, PhD, LCSW, CTS
#ccontoxic

The ways that we run our relationships are built from the norms and values of capitalism, and this is the cause of our relational unhappiness, high divorce rates, and secretive secondary sexual relationships.  

The current model says “relationship” is about owning a house, getting married, stifling sexuality, performing a gender (roles), and many other age-based expectations. 

But a newer sustainable model says we need to expand and “wake up” outside and beyond the normal lines of development and “the rules”.

We have been trained to believe healthy relationships are about toxic rules:

-ownership

-has relational goals; marriage, financial, status versus in it for love and transformation 

-sees “success “ as determined by goals and gains (kids, length of time, finances) versus transformation, love, and health, and enrichment

–self obsessed- (self esteem, self actualized) versus a relational model built on relational esteem and relational actualization,and mutuality

 

A new sustainable collaborative model will be discussed that centers feminism, sex positivity, and newer ways to build sustainable relationships.  

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